Morning Briefing: Brokers, agents safe from automation says Allianz

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Brokers, agents safe from automation says Allianz
Robo-advisors will not replace insurance brokers and agents even though online financial advice has grown. Insurance company Allianz says that both generation X and baby boomers like the ‘human touch’ in dealings with their financial advisors including insurers with 69 per cent citing a lack of trust in online platforms. The Generations Apart study found that 76 per cent recognize that online insurance services are focused on selling rather than advice.

Although around a third of respondents say they have some interest in using a robo-advisor only 10 per cent would be happy with that being their only relationship with their advisor.
 
Fosun pulls out of acquisition
Chinese conglomerate Fosun has backed out of a planned acquisition of Israeli insurer Phoenix Holdings. Conditions for the U$462 million deal were not met to the satisfaction of the closing conditions or waivers in the agreement. The deal would have meant Fosun acquiring a controlling 52.31 per cent stake in the insurer.
 
Employers preparing for increase in healthcare costs
Employers expect the cost of employee benefits to increase in 2016. A survey by Wells Fargo Insurance Services found that 58 per cent of US employers expected costs to be above the Affordable Care Act “Cadillac tax” thresholds. The tax was due to be introduced in 2018 but has been delayed by two years.

“As they balance business goals with controlling cost, employers are also exploring additional changes to their plans to avoid the Cadillac Tax,” said Dan Gowen, national practice leader with Wells Fargo Insurance’s Employee Benefits National Practice. “The rapidly changing market and delay in the tax implementation provides another opportunity for employers to be creative as they continue to refine their benefit plans.”

Half of the employers in the study said they will continue to make changes to their plans either this year or in 2017 by adding a high deductible plan option (52 per cent), increasing the employee contribution percentage (56 per cent), or increasing co-insurance features (55 per cent).

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